Quietly he moves between the white hives, in his white veil and pants tucked into heavy socks. The veil, a connection to the past, known or unknown, it still is there. I pay not much notice of Grandpa as I run and skip and play with cousins, unaware that the call was already being passed down to me. Much later, though still before I heard the song of the bees, I presented one of grandpa’s bee hive frames as part of a science fair project. I chose honeybees, I thought, because it would be easy with all of the props from grandpa. I didn’t know they had already chosen me and were singing their sweet, patient song, layer by layer until my ears either heard or until I was ready. Probably both.
Still much later, in the Fall of a year, I sleepily wrote in my dream book I keep by my bed “bee box by April 26,” only to forget as soon as I mumbled to my husband what I wrote in the book. That winter, late in the season, I wanted to order a bee hive. I called around and was told I was so late it was unlikely any bee suppliers still had bees. I found someone who still had a few nucs and would send me one. I ordered the hive, painted and prepped, then waited for my bees to arrive. They arrived in the middle of a cold spell and rain, so a little researching had me convinced to wait a few days. I did. And I sat with the bees and was surprised how comforting their sound was, their sweet song. I listened, ear pressed up to the wire side and knew I was connected.
Once I put the bees into their new home, I sat and watched. My husband said, “You said by April 26th, so you did it in time.” I looked at him quizzically, “What?” He reminded me of my bee dream I had mentioned to him in my sleep daze and promptly forgotten. I ran to my dream book and sure enough, the date was set in my own writing. I smiled and thanked the bees for choosing me.
I thought back to what my mom told me about my naming. I was supposed to be Melanie. My parents agreed. But when mom went to fill out the birth certificate alone in the hospital room, she couldn’t do it. She hated the name Melanie suddenly and wrote Melissa. I watched the bees as my thoughts returned to the present and listened to them whisper, just like my mom did years ago.